Tag Archives: Kaija Saariaho

Figuring Out Nordic Opera

Within a time span ranging from August 2007 until June 2013 we have 773 productions, in 34 cities in the Nordic countries. Out of the 773 productions 38 are world premieres of new operas. Only 12 are produced by the major national opera companies, and then rarely on the main stage.

Of course we have to take into account that the economic crisis of 2008 put a major dent in the budgets of many of the opera houses, but still the development has not deviated dramatically from that of the previous decade.

Not surprisingly, the Nordic composer whose work is most frequently performed worldwide is Kaija Saariaho. Looking at production frequency Saariaho ranks no. 1 among female composers,  she is no. 15 on the list of living composers and comes in at place 96 on the current top 100 list of opera composers, dead or alive. (statistics source: Operabase).

A new opera by Saariaho is scheduled to premiere at ROH Covent Garden in 2020, part of something one can surely call a new opera extravaganza by today’s standards, as four new operas will premiere at Covent Garden in 2020, a culminating point of Tony Pappano and Kasper Holtens strong emphasis on the development of new work over the coming years.

Here a very interesting interview with Saariaho and images from the 2010 Vlaamse Opera production of  L´Amour de loin (Love from Afar). Again presented at the Canadian Opera in 2012.

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